Retired soccer player talks about 8 concussions

18 Feb

Yesterday I finished my first feature for Under the Microscope, KBIA’s science show. I started it last Thursday and did interviews on Friday and Monday then finished writing, voicing and producing earlier this week. It’s been a while and I forgot how long it takes to edit a story.  I’m glad to have one under my belt. Listen for it tonight!

My news hook was a bill in front of the Missouri Legislature about concussions in high school sports. If passed, this bill will give more information to students and parents pre-season and require a health care professional to sign off on an athlete who want to reenter the game after a concussion. My story focused mainly on a student who had multiple concussions.

Jonathan Aur and his mother Kelley

I started working on this story by calling Rock Bridge and Hickman athletic directors and the nI tried Helias in Jeff City and hit the jackpot. The athletic director told me he knew a student who gave up sports after eight concussions. Later that evening Jonathan Aur called me. He was very well-spoken and agreed to an interview.

On Friday morning I met with MSHAA Executive Director Kerwin Urhahn. He was able to give me some insight on to how his organization felt, neutral, and how it would affect him. He said he is working with a Sports Advisory Committee to get some precautions into play. The most surprising thing he said was football saw the most concussions and girls soccer was the sport with the second most!

Monday I went to Rock Bridge High School to meet with Head Athletic Trainer Greg Nagel. RBHS already has procedures similar to this new bill in place, so they we not going to be affected very much.

Jonathan was my best interview. He was a talented athlete who suffered form eight concussions and quit soccer at the age of 11. He walked me through each one and the effects he felt in the time after. I was amazed and the seriousness and the loss of vision, vomiting, and concentration problems he suffered from. I was even more amazed that he got back on the field. By talking to him, it was easy to see how passionate he was about the game. He also said he probably could have gotten college scholarships to play, so giving up was more than just quitting. Now he coaches a 12 year old girls team, works as a waiter, and goes on Mission Trips. Luckily he has not suffered any serious long-term consequences.

Putting this story together opened my eyes to the seriousness of concussions. I learned about Second Impact Syndrome which could occur if an athlete with a concussion suffers a second one (by going back into play most likey). SIS could result in a coma or death.

That’s a wrap!

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